In this issue, Charlie interrogates Granny’s Secret & Forest Bounty to see how they fair against his 9 new supplier checks successful Farm Shop & Deli buyers always do (and 1 they sometimes forget). Let’s see how they got on:


1. Why are Forest Bounty and Granny’s Secret products important?

Forest Bounty and Granny’s Secret brands take pride in using centuries’ old traditional processes – just like Grandma! Our products are all about indulging the senses in bringing rich flavours and textures home. The tastes and flavours truly and genuinely celebrate traditional Balkan recipes. Our products deliver the very soul of tradition to satisfy every ‘foodie’, making them ‘constants’ in the home food cupboard.

Our ranges of all-natural juices, spreads and preserves can be enjoyed by the hospitality or retail industries. They can be equally appreciated on proprietors’ menus as they can be at home.

Many of the products are Great Taste Award winners. The endorsements of such awards assure the consumer of recognised high quality produce, taste and uniqueness.

The all-natural juices, spreads and preserves quickly become the preferred choice. For example, the 100% fruit spreads are a healthy option for jams, and preserves due to zero added sugar – Once tasted this versatile spread could become the regular preferred choice. The Ajvar spreads hold the taste of artisan making, compared to non-other. The all-natural juices are the healthy choice for smoothies, mixers or straight from the bottle.


2. People

The people behind the products can be a crucial factor when selecting suppliers, especially with food products going into independent retailers, where quality and credibility are key selling points. You need to know that your suppliers understand your customers, and have the knowledge and capability to deliver on your promise. And, Granny’s Secret founder has this capability in abundance.

Snezana Milanovic-Knowles

Company Founder

Snezana grew up in the Serbian capital Belgrade, a city girl but with family roots deep in the Balkan countryside. Summers were spent with the family far from the city and amongst the people who understood nature and carried on the traditional methods of the countryside, observing the cycles of the seasons. The winters are certainly harsh but spring brings the warmth of the Mediterranean sun combined with frequent rain. The long summer ripens the crops perfectly ready to be harvested and processed.

Today, her grandad’s successors are amongst the suppliers for some of the berries. Having these wonderful products here in the UK, as you can imagine, means the world to her….A glass of blueberry juice, a spoonful of fruit preserve or Ajvar from Serbia, and she travels back in time…. From her grandparents, she hopes to pass this love on to her own children and much further afield.

Graduating as an aeronautical engineer, Snezana moved to the UK in 1989 and had a distinguished career in the aerospace industry; however she has always retained a desire for the food she enjoyed growing up in Serbia and a strong belief that British people would also enjoy the quality and tastes of the Balkans. 2012 was the time to take the plunge and finally see these beautiful products in UK stores and restaurants. Snezana now leads a growing business (under the umbrella of Milanovic Knowles Ltd), already making substantial inroads into the UK. One of the remarkable things experienced during her attendance at exhibitions and shows is the universal praise for the taste and packaging of the food and drinks. Even Ajvar, a roasted red pepper condiment little known in the UK, is loved by everyone who tries it.

During Snezana’s years of establishing the business she was acknowledged:

  • Foodbev.com Awards 2012 Runner Up for Best Drinks Brand
  • Entrepreneur of the Month January & July 2013, awarded by Entrepreneurs Circle Bristol Branch
  • Finalist in Women in Business 2014 for New Business of the Year, with Bristol Post and The Bath Chronicle 

Snezana and her team live in South Gloucestershire and North Wiltshire and are active to support the local community in donations and gifts for fund raising. 

Snezana has attended many Speciality Food Shows and has built up a considerable network within this field. She has been instrumental in perfecting the products with the producers. 
Company Founder Snezana Milanovic-Knowles put aside her career as an aeronautical engineering to follow her passion in bringing the ‘tastes of her home’ to the shores of the British Isles. She started working from home, placing modest orders initially and now the business has grown in volume and product range. In 2012 when Snezana launched her first product in UK the brand was not known, with her deep belief in the high quality she pursued to grow her customer base.


3. Social Proof

Evey producer claims that their products are the best, but proof makes selecting a supplier much easier

Ajvar Roasted Pepper spreads:
I have never tasted anything nicer before!
I have been Chef for 26 years, but I have never tasted anything nicer before! These flavours are delicious: Lutenica, Hot Ajvar, 100% Blueberry jam.

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Will

Anderson & Hill Birmingham

…’some of the purest organically produced food and drink available on the Planet’.

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The Observer

There is something deliciously comforting about Ajvar roasted red pepper spread …it’s vibrant orange, has a sweet, mellow smokiness and tastes remarkably home made and pure…’

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Crumbs magazine

Award-winning (and then some!)

Across our lines available with Delishops we have received multiple Great Taste Awards:

  • 100% Fruit Spread apricot: 2 Star Great Taste 2018
  • Tomato & Celery juice: 1 Star Great Taste 2017
  • Ajvar Hot: 1 Star Great Taste 2017
  • Blackcurrant juice: 2 Star Great Taste 2016
  • Raspberry juice: 1 Star Great Taste 2015
  • Apple Pure juice: 1 Star Great Taste 2014
  • Ajvar Classic: 1 Star Great Taste 2013
  • World Star Packaging Winner 2013
  • Runner-up Food Bev Awards for Best New Drinks in UK 2012 

Stockists

  • Selfridges Food Hall stock flavours from our Extra Jams and Fruit & Honey lines.
  • Country House hotels, boutique hotels stock our juices.
  • Ocado stock our some from our Ajvar range and some from our 100% Fruit Spreads.
  • Jarrolds Department Store Food Hall stock products.

Accreditations

  • HACCP
  • BRC
  • BCS
  • ISO 9001
  • HALAL
  • Full traceability and certification of all ingredients
  • Requirement that all products are free of ‘E’ numbers 

4. Product range

Our Ajvar roasted pepper spread range celebrates the traditional cooking methods, passed down the generations. This all-natural savoury spread brings home-cooking authentic tastes. The same richness and home-cooking style can be found with the 100% Fruit Spreads; nothing added, just pure fruit. If fabulous fruity textures and flavours are enjoyed then the cold-pressed all-natural juices will be a refreshing, healthy juice for home or eat-in consumption.

Pack size

Ajvar roasted pepper spreads come in two sized jars, 200g and 550g; the former being ideal for home consumption. The juices also come in two sized bottles, ‘family share’ 700ml or individual 200ml unit. The spreads come as six in a case, easy for storage.

Award-winning packaging

The Granny’s Secret packaging won awards internationally in 2013 when products were launched. Each juice bottle holds a necktie either notifying the consumer of the number of fruit per bottle or its Great Taste Award status. The Ajvar roasted pepper spreads also display a neck-tie to highlight key facts about our products such as awards, suitability for vegans, etc so that consumers can make quick purchasing decisions.


5. Provenance

When selecting suppliers a good backstory can make all the difference, helping sales staff to engage with the supplier, giving them a talking point with customers which in turn helps your customers make a purchase – And, Granny’s Secret’s backstory is one worth talking about.

Balkan Story 

When you visit the countryside of Serbia you will understand the strong connection between its people and the land. Even in the cities, the traditions of the countryside are profound. Colourful markets stacked with fruit and vegetables are present in every neighbourhood where a family understands and enjoys food prepared naturally and in accordance with recipes passed down through the generations.

Little wonder that some of the best natural products are produced in Serbia. Our producers are based at the foot of the Kopaonik Mountain in central Serbia. They employ locals, maintaining Fair Trade working conditions. The fruits and vegetables are grown naturally in the eco-sustainable forests and woodlands.

Inspiration

Entrepreneur Snezana Knowles grew up in the Serbian capital Belgrade, a city girl but with family roots deep in the Balkan countryside. Summers were spent with the family far from the city and amongst the people who understood nature and carried on the traditional methods of the countryside, observing the cycles of the seasons. The winters are certainly harsh but spring brings the warmth of the Mediterranean sun combined with frequent rain. The long summer ripens the crops perfectly ready to be harvested and processed.

Tradition

There is a long tradition in the Balkans for families to preserve the fruits they forage the forests for fruits and grow in their gardens.  This has led to recipes handed down from generation to generation using the unique specialities of the region.  Aivars are unique, with no British equivalent, but they match extremely well with British favourites such as cheddars and hams.  Our family kitchen inspired ranges to recapture that homely freshness lost in today’s volume production food culture.

Snezana has always retained a desire for the food she enjoyed growing up in Serbia and carried a strong belief that the British people would also enjoy the quality and tastes of the Balkans. After researching for the best producers she embarked to import to the UK as from 2012. Snezana now leads a growing business already making substantial inroads into the UK, meeting the food and drink retail trends with her all-natural and authentic products.


6. Production methods

How a product is created has an impact on where you place it in-store, how you present it and how you price it.

Vegetables are grown naturally and wildly in eco-sustainable lands

We only select producers who are proud to use fruits and vegetables grown naturally and wildly in eco-sustainable lands. The sweet pepper variety used to make traditional Ajvar are only those grown (uniquely) in the rich agricultural lands of Serbia. The fruits and vegetables are native to this region and naturally ripened with the region’s seasons and harvested at their optimum time.

Consistent taste

Our selected producers use fruits and vegetables native to their region, this ensures taste of the product to remain consistent, with the timely harvesting to ensure the optimum ripeness is available for production at source.

Surety of supply

We swiftly become familiar with our customers’ purchasing habits and requirements; this in turn allows us to make appropriate forecasts given to our producers. We make calculated and timely collections from our producers to limit carbon footprints. We store in ambient conditions in South Gloucestershire ready to dispatch directly to our customers as they require.

Ingredients

Our juices and spreads are free from all preservatives and additives,  artificial colours and flavourings, dairy,nuts, gluten and MSG. They also contain zero added sugar.

The cold-pressed methods for our juice making captures the fruit skins so they hold high fibre goodness. The main fruits used are not made from concentrate; the balance of flavour is made with white grape concentrate (with the exception of Pure Orange, Pure Apple and Tomato & Celery). The 100% fruit spreads are literally 100% fruit.

Carefully selected producers

We have carefully selected our producers and have a longstanding working relationship with them. The growers of the fresh ingredients use non-farmed methods and work the lands as their predecessors always have. Fair-trade working conditions are maintained with the fruit and vegetable growers.

At Granny’s Secret, we are mindful our producers support fair-trade agreements with the local growers in the rich agricultural lands of Serbia. Food growing and production are key income generators for this region of the world and we are proud to maintain a long-term relationship to support the producers so that they can continue to maintain quality and high standards. We do not use air-freight for any transportation.

Our vessels are made from 100% recyclable glass and metal lids.


7. Pricing

Understanding your purchase options to ensure that you get the best available price is good for the bottom line. Granny’s Secret & Forest Bounty are premium products at affordable recommended retail prices for retail and foodservice to achieve high gross margins of 40% in retail and 66% in foodservice.

Aivars:

  • 40%GM at £3.33 retail (inc VAT). 
  • At £3.75, an exceptional 47% margin is achieved

Spreads and jams

  • 40%GM at £4.45 retail (inc VAT). 

Juices:

Our single service juices 200ml achieve

  • 40%GM at £2.50 to take away (inc VAT)
  • 66%GM at £4.50 to customers to drink in (inc VAT)

Our 700ml achieve

  • 40%GM at £3.16 to take away (inc VAT)
  • 66%GM at gives exceptional value £5.57 for 2 customers to drink in (inc VAT)

Shipping costs

In order to assist buyers we have made three levels (within UK):

  • Free delivery on orders valued £300+
  • £12.00 delivery fee for orders of value £151 – £299
  • £8.30 delivery fee for orders of value up to £150

Minimum orders

There are no minimum order quantities



 

8. Points of difference

Differentiating your retail helps you make a stronger impression among prospective customers — and attract more sales. However, you need to take a holistic approach to make sure the entire brand experience differentiates your business and turns new customers into forever fans. One of the ways you can achieve this is by selecting stock that stand-out from the ordinary- and Granny’s Secret has a few of these:

Food matching

The Ajvar spreads highly versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes and are great additions to any picnic or brunch as they are a delicious accompaniment to cheeses, meats and bread. They can also be served as a relish alongside vegan dishes, used as a cooking sauce (pasta, rice) or as a spread inside a sandwich, panini or with crackers.

The 100% fruit spreads can be enjoyed with yoghurt or ice cream, on cereal, porridge, or with cakes and bakes. The juice range serves well as smoothies, mixers for your favourite alcoholic Spirit such as gin and vodka, or can be enjoyed neat.

Cross-selling opportunities

The Ajvar spreads go alongside BBQs and great for picnics. The 100% fruit spreads fit very well for consumers watching sugar reduction due to its no added sugar USP.

Dietary & Lifestyle products

Our products available with Delishops are suitable for vegans, plus they are gluten-free and dairy-free making these accessible for people with celiac disease and lactose intolerant. They have HALAL certification.


 

9. POS & Merchandising

Packaging samples

We are always ready to help retailers envisage our high quality products on their shelves or how to be used in on-site menu development. If buyers would like to see our packaging we can send images or post items for direct appreciation.

Recipes

We can provide digital links to help promote the cooking and serving of Ajvar Roasted Pepper Spreads plus some printed leaflets for serving suggestions.

We can provide sample cocktail recipes for the all-natural juices if chosen to be mixers. We have printed leaflets for serving suggestions of preserves and spreads.

Buyer samples

We say ‘tasting is believing’ in our high-quality products. To assist Buyers to feel as confident as we are, samples are always available for a no-commitment review and tasting.

Customer tastings

Buyers of our products will wish to gain the shared love of them with their consumers; we are very happy to support in-house tasting. One option is complimentary jar per range for its launch for in-house led tasting or where possible one of our team may be able to join you.

Point of sale

  • Granny’s Secret branded stand (limited availability)
  • A selection of product leaflets are available for retailers to help inform consumers

Barcodes

We have all product bar codes ready for release to enable the retailer to set-up with ease.